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Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  23 March 2019 10:23 AM GMT

Lying is something every parent has to deal with at some point of time. Whether it is a blatant lie, a white lie, a tall tale or a fib, lying is often quite difficult to handle. So, let's take a look at why our little ones lie, at what age they start lying and what we can do to cut it down.

When our children are just toddlers, they tell their first lie. Most of us do not think of these as lies though. Basically our toddlers are going to deny something, or lie to get something; this is self-serving. We may ask them if they have a stinky diaper, and because they do not want to stop playing in order to get a clean diaper, they will say no.

They often fib in order to get what they want, without realizing that what they're doing is wrong. A the age of two old, for example, they might tell us that they went potty on the toilet, so that they will get a potty treat, even if they did not. They may deny drawing on the walls to avoid punishment. Their fibs are about pleasure, what will get them more of anything good and what will help them avoid doing without a treat or lost play time, for example.

When our children hit the preschool years, their lies get more creative, but are still just as innocent. Usually they will make up stories, or events, and insist they are real. This is very much akin to having imaginary friends, and is often an outward exposure of their heart's desire, or just a way for them to have fun. They might tell us an outrageous story about their other parent or their grandparents, just to see our expression or hear us laugh. They might insist that they have an imaginary friend that needs dessert, too. These are lies told in play, or out of wishful thinking, and are typically not hurtful.

White lies start to emerge in the school age children, between ages 5-10. These are lies that show they are starting to grasp social awareness and sensitivity. They may lie to a friend telling them they look great, when they really don't or they might take the blame for something they did not do, just so we will stop asking. They might say they did something, to keep a friend, or sibling from getting into trouble. These are usually white lies, done for the good of others. However, at this age, lies of omission also start to take root. When we asks, "Who tracked mud through my house?", our kids neglect to admit to it. At this age, when they lie by omission it is usually because they are afraid of the consequences, they are trying to avoid something difficult or they do not want to disappoint us. For example, we might ask if they have math homework; they lie because they are bad at math and do not want to face it.

When our kids hit the teen stage, this is when lying starts to really develop. Children at this age often lie to test us, their parents. They lie to see how far we will extend our trust to them, and they lie as a convenient way to get what they want. In addition, they continue to lie in order to avoid difficult or stressful situations. So, if we are mad and ask them if they cleaned their room, they may lie in order to avoid being yelled at.

It is when our kids become teens that we need to worry the most about lying, as it becomes incredibly self-serving and is a way to manipulate us or someone else to get what they want. For example, our teens may tell us their car won't start, because they are low on gas and do not want to spend their money to fill up. That way we will drive them, or let them take our car.

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